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Old 08-08-2017, 06:07 PM   #1
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Winch problems for 2016 FR Rockwood Premier 2516g

So we were away at Salt Springs Recreation in Ocala National Forest this past weekend and what a great experience. When packing up and trying to lower the roof with the electric winch it was unresponsive. I tried wiggling the switch and looking for any bad connection issues but still no juice so I used my drill to bring it down.

When I got home I tried it again and it hesitated then raised but still no response lowering. After several giggles it worked but hesitated.

This is a new winch as the old one was replaced a little less than a year ago for basically the same issue, luckily it was covered under warranty.

Any ideas of a fix before I bring it in to be serviced?
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:02 PM   #2
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I replaced the switch, it works a little better but still get a hesitation. I have not found any breaks or kinks in the wires and I just cleaned and sprayed the entire underneath of the trailer and frame with Raptor liner.

We'll see how things go over the next couple trips!
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:48 PM   #3
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Update:

Thinking it was a bad relay I called the winch company and explained the issue. They sent me a new relay free of charge and I installed it. It took a little time installing but it finally works properly.

Problem solved!
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:51 PM   #4
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nice that you solved the problem and reported back. May you have many more successful trips.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for coming back and updating us!
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Old 10-14-2017, 04:05 PM   #6
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I bought a "lifetime supply" of relays on Amazon. They were cheap. The numbers on the factory relays enabled the search.

Another weak point in the system is that a couple of the "spade" connectors on the relays must support multiple wires. They use little spade jumpers to double up the connection. These can be a problem, and they are fragile. In one case, I cut the spade connectors and soldered the wires together, then added a new spade connector. Since you've replaced a relay, you know what I'm talking about.

Another source of brain damage is the limit switch. If it's a gear driven drum with wires coming out, the plastic gear and the "key and keyway" are all just ABS or PVC junk. They can strip and this ruins the whole limit switch.
I ended up disabling mine and just using common sense when raising and lowering. I rely on the little red tether cable that stretches tight at the top of the roof travel. When I lower, as the roof begins to settle, I reach down and pull sideways on the cable. When it can move sideways about 2 inches, I stop.

Keep a close eye on the plastic gear on the limit switch...perhaps using a dry lube to keep it working smoothly. In my case, it broke when I lowered the roof, triggered the low limit, and the gear broke. From then, the roof winch was completely disabled until I figured it out.

When I sell the camper one day...if ever...I'll install a new limit switch. But for now, I think it's a waste of money (about $40).

Glad you got yours working.

One last tip. If you decide to lube the winch gears, don't just spray crap in there. One side has a clutch, and it's easy to get lube on the clutch. If you do, the winch clutch won't have enough grip to raise the roof. A good option is to apply white lithium grease (it's somewhat water resistant) using your fingers or a rag....directly on the gear teeth. But don't overdo it, because the winch lives in a dirty environment and will collect dirt in the grease. Apply, run the winch through several cycles, then wipe off the excess. If you can find a good solid dry lube that would be even better.
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Old 10-14-2017, 06:16 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips Jim. My relay assembly had a board attached/soldered to it and bracket pop riveted to the winch. I could not find the exact part anywhere other than CareFree Powerwinch. I did find relays on amazon without the board and bracket to affix to the winch but was skeptical buying them due to not knowing how I would affix it to the winch.

Any suggestions on locating the part other than Powerwinch for the next time it fails? I attached pics of the bad relay prior to changing it out.Click image for larger version

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Relay assembly part number R001751



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Old 10-15-2017, 10:14 PM   #8
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I had a U-shaped metal bracket pop-riveted to the winch chassis, and I had to cut the rivet to get the relays on the bracket. It was impossible to reattach it but the wires are so stiff that I:
1) ground off a little tab or ear on each relay to allow the U-bracket to fit,
2) installed the wires,
3) and it has worked fine since.

You can see a little corner of the U-shaped bracket above and to the left of the top relay.
My relays are different brand/model relays. See photo.
Wise choice to get the Carefree replacement. Mine had no circuit board attached...more primitive.

It's amazing how little continuity there is in design year to year. But I see you have a similar limit switch. If that's a plastic gear, it's delicate. The switch is normally "closed"...a continuous circuit. When the switch reaches the limit, it "opens" the circuit...cutting power. As an emergency option, you can run a wire directly from the up/down toggle to the point on the relay where the limit switch attaches. There is an up wire through the limit switch and a down wire through the switch. In a pinch, you can bypass the limit switch with straight wire(s).

Also, I imagine you are aware that you can use a reversible drill and the socket you use to operate the stabilizer jacks to "manually" raise and lower the roof. If I recall, I ran the drill in reverse to raise the roof and forward to lower the roof. You can use the hand crank, but it's incredibly slow. A cordless drill will raise/lower the roof about 1/4 as fast as the winch...adequate.

Curious. How much was the relay part?
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Old 10-15-2017, 10:17 PM   #9
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I felt that the relays and wiring were not well protected by the winch covers (top and bottom). That's a wet, dusty environment, and the relays didn't seem to be sealed for weather proofing. I tore open an old one, and it looked pristine, but one of them failed. Not impressed with the design.
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Old 10-15-2017, 10:57 PM   #10
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Winch problems for 2016 FR Rockwood Premier 2516g

There is a bottom cover directly underneath my winch motor which keeps it somewhat free of debris, but like you said there is nothing really keeping the relay assembly protected.

As far as the cost for the relay it would have been $40 but CareFree sent it to me as a courtesy since the last relay failed. I don't believe the dealer actually replaced the first bad relay I had so I decided to do it myself and glad I did because Carefree took care of me.

Good tip on straight wiring the limit switch if need be. And I've used my drill on a couple occasions to lower and raise the roof. I also snapped the tension wire due to not putting the drill in the forward mode (your tip came late) LOL
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Amartin453 View Post
<<SNIP>>
Good tip on straight wiring the limit switch if need be. And I've used my drill on a couple occasions to lower and raise the roof. I also snapped the tension wire due to not putting the drill in the forward mode (your tip came late) LOL
I kind of backed my way into understanding the limit switch. My gear had sheared off...along with the key/keyway that holds the gear ring in place. I was in one of those "what's this thing" situations.
Since it was already ruined, I took it apart like a 6 year old disassembling a VCR.

I spent 22 years of my professional life in commercial broadcast TV...including using both portable microwave equipment on news trucks and later using both fixed base and mobile satellite gear. In all my years, I've never seen a Rube-Goldberg arrangement like this limit switch! The complexity of this thing is staggering, and then to drive it with plastic gears in that wet, dirty environment is unconscionable.

I won't explain what I found, but I used a multi-meter to determine that the switches are normally closed unless you hit a limit. I centered the two mechanisms, made sure nothing would move the switch activators, and I left the switch in place simply as a place-holder so I could replicate the installation years from now when I trade in the camper for a Newmar or Prevost motor home...

Anyway, the limit switch might just as well be two pieces of wire.

Sorry about your tension wire. I've managed to keep mine intact, but I do have to replace the attachment screw on the bottom now and again...with a slightly larger screw. That's hard service, and the screws end up stripping out. You can replace aluminum screws with stainless, and there won't be any galvanic deterioration, plus the stainless is MUCH stronger.

I ended up building a kit of many sizes of screws, nuts, bolts, washers, loctite, and gorilla glue to keep my camper together. Gorilla glue will bond a screw into wood much like loctite does for metal-to-metal fasteners. I buy only nylock locking nuts. Because I boondock and drive 10 to 20 miles one way down washboard gravel roads, I start every camping trip with a search for parts on the floor right after setup. The list of "rattle-apart-repairs" is VERY long, but Gorilla glue holds a wood screw amazingly well.

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Old 10-16-2017, 02:48 PM   #12
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P.S. You'll note that my tastes are modest - just Newmar or Prevost. I don't think I need the Marchi Mobile eleMMent Palazzo.
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:24 AM   #13
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P.S. You'll note that my tastes are modest - just Newmar or Prevost. I don't think I need the Marchi Mobile eleMMent Palazzo.


I thought you were talking Italian (Newmar, Prevost and Palazzo). Seriously, I had to look those names up! I'll be sticking with my pup for many years and chatting with fellas like yourself when issues arise that I cant trouble shoot. Thanks again for the tips!
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:49 AM   #14
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X2 on the Gorilla glue and wood screws. i also keep gorilla tape handy.

I had same issues with the red 'limit' wire on my 2514g. First time it pulled out, it caught in the canvas on the way up. Since mine required the wire to be pulled tight to get the door in I replaced the screw on the bottom often. It is a very illogical design. I really liked the one on the Coleman Utah I had, where you could crank it up forever with no penalty (and in fact could reset it that way). But that would have cost a couple more cents, I'm sure.
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